Play Seeks to Address WorkLife Imbalance

first_imgby, Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.orgTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesChangingaging readers know that Dr. Bill Thomas recently debuted a dramatic play at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.You might be surprised to learn the play was not about aging. Harking back to his days as a med student at Harvard, the play, “Play What’s Not There,” (PWNT) takes us through the pressure cooker of medical interning for doctors and explores how the choices we all make impact our future selves.Commissioned by the Minnesota-based HealthPartners Institute for Education to write a play that addresses physician well-being, Dr. Thomas masterfully weaves humor, a dash of mythology and powerful metaphors into a thought-provoking performance exploring our tenuous relationships with life/work balance.PWTN does not play out like an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Love triangles mixed with dramatic life-saving medical interventions do not feature prominently in the story. Instead, we get a glimpse of the acute pressure those in the medical profession place on themselves and the difficulty they face in balancing the pursuit of healing, perfection and ambition with their own personal well-being.The play has five characters, each at various stages of their careers, who struggle with issues of stress, family life, work demands, and destiny.  Beatrice, a talented medical student with high ideals, fails to match to a residence program, as she is viewed as “not fully committed” to her medical career.  In her eyes she is seeking a better balance between career and family.  Offered a residency position in the scramble, she must make a quick decision.  Her choice ultimately affects the lives of four other physicians in the play.  As she explores her options in the play, the audience also begins to see the impact of our choices on our careers, families, and personal well-being.Thomas, an international authority on geriatric medicine as well as a prominent cultural critic, author, novelist and musician, said all audiences can relate to Beatrice’s journey as a new physician seeking her own path that is aligned with her values.“When it comes to balancing work and life, our culture has its thumb pressed firmly on the work side of the scale,” Thomas said. “Bringing our lives back into balance requires making difficult choices.”The medical profession in particular faces and urgent need to address issues of work/life balance for doctors. Doctors have a significantly higher rate of suicide than the general public — 40 percent higher for males and a staggering 130 percent for females. Suicide is just the extreme symptom of a life out of balance. Medical students in general also experience significantly higher rates of depression, burnout and other mental illness. And it’s not just doctors who suffer, but quality of care as well.Institutional change does not come easy, as most of our audience in the culture change movement know. Dr. Thomas’ play PWNT is intended to spark a national conversation about  well-being and raise serious questions about how to reclaim balance even in the most demanding professions.HealthPartners is working to stage the play in theaters across the country and engage audiences in discussions about improving work/life balance. Already, several prominent medical associations and organizations have engaged the Guthrie Theater to perform PWNT at their conferences.ChangingAging invites anyone in its audience to contact us if you’d like a copy of the script and information about staging a production of PWNT. Contact us at Editor@ChangingAging.org or here.Related PostsPlay What’s Not ThereLong time readers will remember that I was engaged to write a one-act play dealing with the difficult problem of work-life balance. The result was a work titled, “Play What’s Not There.” Well, last Friday we had our first run through at the Guthrie Theater. The team at Guthrie assembled…New Podcast: ReimaginationWelcome to the only Podcast on the web featuring a physician, Dr. Bill Thomas, and musician, Nate Silas Richardson, who team up for the #AskDrBill Show. Today’s question: What is Life Reimagined?ChangingAging Blogstream Weekly Roundup June 17-23I am really loving the new Blogstream because it is widening the circle of my knowledge. For example, Marti Weston is an excellent blogger and she has put up a post that makes an excellent and often overlooked point.TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: balance Care Partner doctors guthrie physicians well beinglast_img read more

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Study shows how using service dogs may provide physiological benefits to veterans

first_imgJun 12 2018A new study shows how veterans with PTSD may benefit physiologically from using service dogs.This study, led by the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, is the first published research to use a physiological marker to define the biobehavioral effects of service dogs on veterans with PTSD.The findings were published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, and they may be significant as scientific evidence of potential mental health benefits experienced by veterans with PTSD who have service dogs.The study was co-funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Bayer Animal Health. The research was led by Maggie O’Haire, assistant professor of human-animal interaction in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Kerri Rodriguez, human-animal interaction graduate student, with the help of K9s For Warriors, an accredited nonprofit organization that provides veterans with service dogs. The study also was in collaboration with the Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research at the University of California, Irvine.”Our long-term research goal is to quantify how service dogs may affect the health and well-being of military members and veterans with PTSD,” O’Haire said. “This study compared a group of veterans with PTSD who had a service dog to a group on the waitlist to receive one. Our previous research suggests that the presence of a service dog reduced clinical PTSD symptoms and improved quality of life. In this study, we wanted to determine if those beneficial effects also included changes in the physiology of stress.””We chose to focus our assessments on cortisol as it is a biomarker centrally involved in the stress response system,” said Rodriguez, lead author on the paper. In this way, the study seeks to improve the understanding of the potential mechanisms for how and why a service dog may help this population.Cortisol can be measured non-invasively in saliva, which enabled the veterans to collect samples themselves at home immediately after waking up in the morning and about 30 minutes later. This allowed researchers to look at how much cortisol was being produced during the morning. The magnitude of the “cortisol awakening response” has been extensively studied and is used as a metric of the effects of chronic and acute stress. Non-PTSD, healthy adults experience an increase in cortisol after waking up.Related StoriesNovel bed system with VR brainwave-control for sleep blissDogs and cats relieve academic stress and lift students’ mood, according to a new studyOxidative stress could play key role in the spreading of aberrant proteins in Parkinson’s disease”We found that military veterans with a service dog in the home produced more cortisol in the mornings than those on the waitlist,” Rodriguez said. “This pattern is closer to the cortisol profile expected in healthy adults without PTSD. Having a service dog was also associated with less anger, less anxiety, and better sleep.”O’Haire says, though, while this finding is important, it should be taken in context.”These findings present exciting initial data regarding the physiological response to living with a service dog. However, the study did not establish a direct correlation, on an individual level, between cortisol levels and levels of PTSD symptoms, and further study is needed. It is important to keep in mind that service dogs do not appear to be a cure for PTSD,” O’Haire said.The next step, already underway, involves a large-scale National Institutes of Health clinical trial in which the researchers are studying veterans with and without service dogs over an extended period of time. “Our research team will be able to look at morning cortisol levels both before and after getting a service dog to see how these physiological effects manifest over time,” O’Haire said. “The longitudinal nature of this clinical trial should bring about a better understanding of the interrelationships between physiological and behavioral processes, PTSD symptoms, and service dogs.”She also emphasizes that the participation of veterans in the studies should not be taken for granted. “We are most grateful to the military veterans and their families who have participated in the research thus far,” O’Haire said. “We are honored to be collaborating with these individuals to advance the science behind our interactions with animals and how they affect human lives.” Source:https://www.purdue.edu/last_img read more

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New vaccine could protect unborn babies from Zika virus

first_imgJul 20 2018Until recently, the Zika virus was not a priority since it affected relatively few people and the cost of creating a vaccine was estimated at EUR 149-468 million. But the spread of Zika in the Americas and discovery of a link with reduced head size and brain damage in babies of women infected while pregnant changed that.One challenge is to ensure that any vaccine – which would typically include an agent similar to the virus – doesn’t harm foetuses. Valneva is making a vaccine with a disease-causing agent that has been killed but nonetheless stimulates the immune system to protect against the virus. So even if the agent crosses the placenta, it doesn’t infect the baby.Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedValneva’s work on Zika is based on a similar process to that which it followed to create its vaccine against Japanese encephalitis, a neurological disease responsible for up to around 20 000 deaths annually. As this vaccine is licensed in Europe and the USA, Valneva believes that approval for its Zika vaccine will be granted quickly.The vaccine has “demonstrated excellent purity and overall had a biological, chemical and physical profile comparable to our commercially produced Japanese encephalitis vaccine,” says deputy chief executive Franck Grimaud.The EU financing also supports development of vaccines against clostridium difficile, an infectious diarrhea, and Lyme Borreliosis, a tick-borne illness commonly known as Lyme disease with some 500 000 cases a year in Europe and the USA, and against which there is currently no licensed vaccine.Valneva spends about 20 % of revenue on R&D and a quarter of its 400 employees work in that field. Along with the Japanese encephalitis vaccine, this approach has led to the creation of a vaccine against enterotoxigenic escherichia coli, a type of E. coli, and cholera, which kills up to 120 000 people a year. Both prevent diseases for which there are no other approved products in Europe. Source:http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?id=/research/headlines/news/article_18_06_13_en.html?infocentre&item=Infocentre&artid=49096last_img read more

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Promising data supports development of AAVhu37based gene therapy for hemophilia A

first_imgAug 21 2018Gene therapy using an optimized adeno-associated virus (AAV) to deliver the human factor VIII gene to cynomolgus macaques showed a substantial increase in hFVIII expression and no detectable antibody response for 30 weeks in some animals. These promising data combined with evidence that the optimized vector AAVhu37 is suitable for manufacturing and purification at scale, suggests that AAVhu37-based gene therapy has the potential to advance to the clinic to treat hemophilia A, according to an article published in Human Gene Therapy, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.Related StoriesRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationNovel insight into microRNA function can be crucial for the development of gene therapyResearchers capture high-resolution, 3D images of gene-editing enzymesJames M. Wilson, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and colleagues from University of Pennsylvania and Ultragenyz Gene Therapy, Cambridge, MA coauthored the article entitled “Optimized Adeno-Associated Viral-Mediated Human Factor VIII Gene Therapy in Cynomolgus Macaques.” The researchers compared two AAV capsids – AAVrh10 and AAVhu37 – combined with two liver-specific promoters and enhancers – E03.TTR and E12.A1AT. The researchers concluded that development of AAV-based gene therapeutics for hemophilia A should continue using the AAVhu37 capsid.”The field now appreciates that there is a finite dose window in which systemic rAAV will be safe and effective,” says Editor-in-Chief Terence R. Flotte, MD, Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education and Dean, Provost, and Executive Deputy Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA. “This means that optimization of the potency of vector constructs may be critical to enable a long-term clinical success in the treatment of hemophilia A.”Source: https://home.liebertpub.com/news/promising-results-support-continued-development-of-aav-based-human-factor-viii-gene-therapy/2410last_img read more

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How to Succeed in Translational Science

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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe An advisory group today offered the National Institutes of Health (NIH) some suggestions for how to frame metrics for evaluating its vast $475 million consortium of translational research centers—such as the need to define what it takes to be a translational scientist. But it’s leaving the details of those metrics to NIH staff.The Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) are large grants (from about $4 million to $23 million a year) for training programs, regulatory staff, and other support for bench-to-bedside research at academic medical centers. Last June, among other recommendations, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel found that the 60 or so CTSAs were trying to do too much and needed to specialize. The panel also called for NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which funds the CTSAs, to be more directly involved in overseeing them.Some of those recommendations are already being addressed—for example, in February NCATS replaced the CTSAs’ sprawling committee structure with a streamlined 15-member steering committee. NCATS staff members have also taken on getting the centers to focus on their individual strengths. But NCATS asked a working group of its advisory committee for help with a key part of how to do that—developing “meaningful, measurable goals and outcomes for the CTSA program,” according to the working group’s draft report released today. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The report defines four strategic goals—workforce development, collaboration/engagement, integration, and methods/processes—and lists dozens of “measurable objectives.” For example, to achieve workforce development, the CTSAs should define “core competencies” for a translational science workforce. To expand collaboration, the CTSAs should develop methods to “effectively engage relevant and diverse stakeholders,” such as patient groups and the Food and Drug Administration. To improve integration, CTSAs need to develop treatments for special populations, such as children and minorities. A fourth goal, methods/process, might include finding ways to conduct a clinical trial faster.However, the report doesn’t flesh out specific metrics for evaluating the CTSAs. “I see elements of measurement” but not how they would be “part of the evaluation process,” said one NCATS adviser, Tadataka Yamada, executive vice president of Takeda Pharmaceuticals International, today during the report’s rollout at a joint meeting of the NCATS council and another board.Working group co-chair Mary Disis of the University of Washington, Seattle, explained that the report offers “a template for metrics and evaluation.” Added NCATS Director Christopher Austin, “I see this as a translational step from the IOM report to what we now need to do.” read more

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Myth busted Pufferfish dont hold their breath while inflated

first_imgTo fend off predators, the black-saddled pufferfish (Canthigaster valentini) famously inflates its body with water, much like a person puffing up his cheeks and holding his breath. But unlike the blue-faced human—and in contrast with scientists’ expectations—the pufferfish does not actually stop breathing, researchers report online today in Biology Letters. Scientists placed the fish into clear plastic chambers where they could monitor their respiration. They then poked the puffers with a piece of tubing that sucked in water, simulating a predator attack. As expected, the fish responded by ballooning up and by rapidly gulping down water into a distensible stomach. And, contrary to previous belief, respirometers showed that the fish kept on breathing throughout the process. Scientists had suspected that during inflation, respiration might occur through the skin instead of across the gills, but this, too, seems to be false: Instead, the data and observations show that the pufferfish continued breathing with their gills as usual. In fact, compared with resting rates, the fish’s respiration increased close to fivefold during the inflation process. Even if they don’t stop breathing, the defense strategy is energetically taxing for the pufferfish; after the test, most took hours to return to resting respiration rates.last_img read more

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When this beetle mom disappears her children become stronger and nicer

first_imgAlthough burying beetle young (beige) rely on their moms (black) for help, they can evolve to fend for themselves. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country When this beetle mom disappears, her children become stronger and nicer tomhouslay.com MONTPELLIER, FRANCE—Burying beetles are the supermoms of the insect world. Unlike most other bugs, which abandon their eggs almost immediately after laying them, these 15-millimeter-long, black-and-orange beetles protect and feed their young until they are big enough to fend for themselves. Yet the progeny can evolve to do just fine on their own, scientists reported here last week at the Second Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology. When researchers took burying beetle mothers away from offspring for dozens of generations in a row, the fledgling beetles evolved tougher jaws and became more cooperative with their siblings—allowing them to tackle a challenging world without mom’s help.The new work “is a lovely example of how social interactions within families can evolve differently,” depending on the context, says Allen Moore, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Georgia in Athens who was not involved with the work.Burying beetles (Nicrophorus vespilloides) live in European forests and in North American bogs, where they scour the landscape for dead mice and birds. After stripping the carcasses of feathers or fur, adult beetles roll them into neat balls that they bury along with a female’s eggs, which she lays next to the corpse. Normally, the mom holes up with the eggs and tends the young larvae. Emailcenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Elizabeth PennisiAug. 27, 2018 , 1:50 PM But over the past 5 years, Rebecca Kilner, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and her colleagues have been altering that family scenario in some lab-reared beetles. Half the time, they remove the female after her eggs are laid, and half the time they leave the family intact. After those larvae grow up, the team repeats the experiment over and over, and monitors each generation for physical and behavioral changes.After 30 generations, something surprising happened: The motherless beetle larvae evolved larger, most likely stronger, jaws. Mom usually helps the newly hatched larvae gain access to the nearby animal corpse by biting through the soil surrounding it and making a hole in the carcass for them. When larvae had to do this one their own, only the ones with the biggest jaws reached their meal, so they survived, and their young tend to have ever bigger jaws, Kilner reported at the meeting.More important, after all these generations on their own, “the [motherless] larvae are nicer to one another,” Kilner said. She and her colleagues tested how well larvae with different maternal experiences worked together to survive by putting some newly hatched larvae from the two groups in different proportions on a carcass, and comparing their survival. Larvae where all the young came from the motherless group did great, surviving just fine. “We don’t know how they help each other,” Kilner said, but she suspects the larvae work together to bite their way into the carcass—something that mothers had done for them.In contrast, when all the larvae came from the group whose ancestors still had mothers present, they did quite poorly with a carcass without maternal help. It seems mom’s presence on an evolutionary timescale leads to ever more competitive siblings, says Joel Meunier, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Tours in France who was not involved with the work. These young likely were too busy jostling each other for access to the carcass and failed to break through, Kilner suggests.In the past, most studies of families have focused on that kind of sibling rivalry, Meunier says. But this work and his studies of cooperating siblings in insects called earwigs are showing that siblings can evolve to work together not against one another.Another sign of “cooperation” is that larvae from the motherless group hatch earlier and all at the same time. “There’s a critical number of larvae needed to bite their way into the carcass,” Kilner explains, so those whose timing matches the group’s do better.The work points out that the evolution of cooperation depends not only on how an individual changes through time, says Moore, but also how the individuals interact with change. Who you grow up with matters a lot.What matters for these six-legged families may be important for two-legged ones as well, Moore adds. “We are social and so group composition matters for our evolution as well,” he says. “The parents’ behavior depend on what the babies are doing, not just what the parents are doing.” But there are likely big differences, Kilner points out: “We don’t give birth to 25 offspring at once.”last_img read more

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White House eyes nuclear weapons expert to lead challenge to climate science

first_img Robinson has been quietly recruiting researchers outside the government to participate in the review panel, the sources said. He has been working with Steven Koonin, a New York University professor and former undersecretary for science at DOE during the Obama administration, to find participants.They have focused their recruitment efforts on a small number of climate skeptics with academic credentials, including Judith Curry, a former professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in Atlanta; Richard Lindzen, a retired Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who has called those worried about global warming a “cult”; and John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and a newly installed member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Science Advisory Board.Robinson’s involvement is notable because he doesn’t have a history of speaking about climate change, unlike other potential members of the panel. He earned a Ph.D. in physics from Florida State University and has spent much of his career specializing in nuclear weapons and national security. Insofar as an internal working group would consist of federal career scientists reviewing their own work, we think this alternative would be worse than doing nothing. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Robinson was among dozens of signatories on a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump in September 2017 encouraging him to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal signed by President Barack Obama. The letter compared the benefits of exiting the Iran deal, which Trump ultimately decided to do, to the president’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.”We are unconvinced by doom-and-gloom predictions of the consequences of a U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA,” the signatories wrote, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “The sky did not fall when you withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.”The White House plan to review climate science resembles an earlier effort by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to conduct a “red-team, blue-team” review of climate science to highlight uncertainties in research methodology. Koonin and Will Happer, a member of the White House National Security Council who’s spearheading this review, were a driving force behind Pruitt’s plan.Initial plans for the latest climate review included an effort to involve the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, D.C., but that appears to have been scuttled, according to one source involved in the discussions. Robinson sits on the executive committee of the governing board for the National Academies. Letter to President Donald Trump signed by Paul Robinson Letter to President Donald Trump, urging him not to use federal scientists for climate research review By Scott Waldman, E&E NewsApr. 12, 2019 , 8:20 AM Read more… Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) White House eyes nuclear weapons expert to lead challenge to climate science Originally published by E&E NewsA controversial plan by the White House to review the connections between climate change and national security might be led by a former official with the Department of Energy (DOE) who oversaw talks about nuclear weapons tests with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.Former Ambassador C. Paul Robinson, who served as chief negotiator for the Geneva nuclear testing talks from 1988 to 1990, is favored to lead the review panel, according to two sources involved in the talks. Robinson also directed DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 1995 to 2005 and was head of the nuclear weapons and national security programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Another option that has been considered is to ask federal researchers to conduct the review, which would allow the panel to avoid federal disclosure laws. Last month, a group of prominent climate skeptics, energy industry officials and Trump allies wrote a letter to the president urging him to use outside researchers for the review.”Insofar as an internal working group would consist of federal career scientists reviewing their own work, we think this alternative would be worse than doing nothing,” they wrote.So far, the effort to recruit reviewers does not appear to include the nation’s top climate researchers at NASA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The head of each organization told E&E News that they are not involved in the process. Neil Jacobs, the acting NOAA administrator, said the panel should stick to peer-reviewed research. And he defended the National Climate Assessment, one of the overarching pieces of research that would be reviewed by the White House.”The peer-review process is tried and true. We have an internal review process. Our scientists publish in scientific journals that go through external peer-review process; it’s pretty rigorous. There’s probably ways you could improve on it, but I don’t think it’s a means to question the peer-review process,” he said (Climatewire, March 28).Those involved in the preliminary discussions about setting up the panel cautioned that it could change, depending on the priorities of the White House.Before he was appointed to the National Security Council, Happer headed the CO2 Coalition, a group that promotes the benefits of carbon dioxide. It’s funded in part by the Mercer family, a major Trump donor. The CO2 Coalition promotes the notion that the world needs more carbon dioxide to help plants grow.Happer began approaching outside researchers not long after he arrived at the White House for the climate science review, according to sources who participated in the talks.Robinson, who did not respond to requests for comment, is not a familiar face in Washington’s political battles over climate policy. In recent years, his public comments have centered on concerns that the world is moving toward another Cold War as weapons of mass destruction become more destructive and portable. In 2008 testimony before Congress, he said the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile must remain a cornerstone of its defense strategy.”The proven formula of deterrence for preserving the peace remains our best near-term hope,” Robinson said, according to prepared testimony. “While all human beings can wish for a time in which the threat of nuclear weapons for deterring aggression would no longer be required, or for a time in which nations would no longer stockpile weapons for aggression at all; but to achieve these would require fundamental changes in the nature of mankind.”Robinson has been employed in the energy sector, as well. He is listed as the vice chairman of the board of Advanced Reactor Concepts LLC, which manufactures small, modular nuclear reactors. The company was invited by DOE officials during the Obama administration to make a presentation during the Paris climate talks in 2015.In addition to his work with nuclear weapons, Robinson served on the Strategic Advisory Group for the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command. He served on a NASA advisory council during the George W. Bush administration, when it was chaired by Harrison Schmitt, a former Apollo astronaut who rejects climate science. Schmitt is on the board of directors for the CO2 Coalition.Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2019. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net The sky did not fall when you withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.last_img read more

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Softball Player Hosts Program For LA Youth

first_img Baseball , Education , giving back , Los Angeles , Natasha Watley , Softball , Sports , Youth Twitter Crowns Kamala Harris Winner Of The Second Democratic Debate US-VOTE-2020-DEMOCRATS-DEBATE Softball star Natasha Watley is on a mission to empower the youth through sports. According to the Los Angeles Sentinel she has been hosting a youth softball league to provide mentorship for young girls that are from South L.A. SEE ALSO:HBCU World Series Aims To Diversify College BaseballSerena Williams Becomes Second Black Woman Tennis Player To Grace Wheaties Box The Natasha Watley Softball League⁠—which has been in existence for over a decade⁠—is supported by the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. Its an 8-week free softball program for girls between the ages of 8 and 15. This year, the initiative is serving 126 girls from underserved communities. The organizers say their mission is to teach girls about leadership and health and inspire them to join the softball teams at their schools.For Watley—a UCLA alum who helped the USA Softball Women’s National Team win a gold medal during the 2004 Olympics—it’s all about representation. She wanted to ensure Black and brown girls were exposed to softball at a young age and hopes to use her program to increase representation within the sport. “We started the league to give opportunities to young girls in LA to learn how to play softball,” Watley said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Most of them, when they start, they’ve never even heard of softball so we’re teaching them the game. Through that we hope that they also learn about teamwork, commitment, and dedication.”There are several efforts being made to diversify softball and baseball. In May, Black College Sports Group 360 launched the HBCU World Series as an avenue to spread awareness about baseball programs at HBCUs and increase racial diversity within the sport. “We want to utilize these events to promote educational opportunities to urban youth who in some cases may not even know schools with the history of a North Carolina A&T State University or a Southern University even exists,” said Black College Sports Group 360 founder Erwin Prentiss Hill. “These oftentimes may be first-generation college prospects. They have good grades and good GPAs. They just do not have an understanding from a previous generation of what it takes to navigate that process.” Softball Gold Medalist Gives Back with Summer Program #BlackNews #BlackPress #85YearsofLASentinel https://t.co/bjujQ1ZeIx— L.A. Sentinel News (@thelasentinel) June 15, 2019last_img read more

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Police issue traffic measures for UWP meeting on Roseau Bayfront

first_imgShareTweetSharePinThe police have released information on the temporary traffic measures to be adopted from Saturday 18th May, 2019 to Monday 20th May, 2019 in relation to the public meeting of the United Workers Party (UWP) to be held at the Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard on Sunday.Audio by Acting Superintendent Leana Edwards is posted below.Video Playerhttps://dominicanewsonline.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Sup-Leana-Edwards.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.last_img

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White House recruits researchers for adversarial climate science review

first_img Originally published by E&E NewsThe White House is recruiting researchers who reject the scientific consensus on climate change for its “adversarial” review of the issue.The proposal to form a “Presidential Committee on Climate Security” at the National Security Council (NSC) has shifted, into an ad-hoc group that will review climate science out of the public eye. Those involved in the preliminary discussions said it is focused on recruiting academics to conduct a review of the science that shows climate change presents a national security risk. White House recruits researchers for ‘adversarial’ climate science review By Scott Waldman, E&E NewsFeb. 25, 2019 , 10:45 AM iStock.com/bboserup Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) William Happer, a senior director at the NSC and an emeritus Princeton University physics professor not trained in climate science, is leading the effort.Among those who have been contacted are the relatively small number of researchers with legitimate academic credentials who question the notion that humans are warming the planet at a rapid pace through the burning of fossil fuels. A number of the names the White House is targeting are those frequently invited by Republicans to testify at congressional hearings on climate change where uncertainty is emphasized.The stated goal of the committee, according to a leaked White House memo, is to conduct “adversarial scientific peer review” of climate science.Those involved in the preliminary discussions caution that the list of researchers, which could include scientists as well as statisticians, is still under discussion and that the shape of the committee has yet to be determined. Most of the members are expected to come from outside the federal government.Happer did lead a meeting Friday to discuss the goals of the committee, according to a White House official. It could take about a month for an executive order creating the committee to receive President Trump’s signature, the official said.The official would not confirm those who attended Friday’s meeting, but a memo that leaked ahead of the gathering showed representatives from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy were among those invited to participate.On Friday, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway would not comment on why the administration was challenging the science of its own agencies.”Do you have an articulate, competent question?” she said — and then refused to answer any questions about the meeting.The list of researchers who have been approached or discussed includes: Judith Curry, a former professor at the Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Richard Lindzen, a retired Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who has called those worried about global warming a “cult”; and John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and a newly installed member of EPA’s Science Advisory Board. A leader of the effort is Steven Koonin, a New York University professor and former undersecretary for science in the Department of Energy in the Obama administration.It’s possible the review will also include scientists who agree with the vast majority in the field of climate science that humans are warming the planet at a pace unprecedented in the history of civilization.Koonin has been actively recruiting participants for the effort. He and Happer worked with former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to conduct a “red team, blue team” climate debate at EPA, which would also have taken an adversarial approach to scientific peer review, but that effort was ultimately scuttled by former White House chief of staff John Kelly.The new group plans to take a close look at the recent congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment, which found that “the impacts and costs of climate change are already being felt in the United States, and changes in the likelihood or severity of some recent extreme weather events can now be attributed with increasingly higher confidence to human-caused warming.”While the Trump administration signed off on the report, the president said he did not believe it. His administration attempted to bury the report by releasing it on the day after Thanksgiving.In the National Climate Assessment, scientists rate their areas of confidence by certainty. For example, an area of low confidence is the frequency of extreme storms, which present a significant national security risk. Scientists are still uncertain as to the exact effect of climate change on how often extreme storms, such as hurricanes, occur, but they’re increasingly confident that climate change can make such storms more intense.The group, in particular, will look at areas of that report where the confidence is low or medium. They plan to question the conclusions of those who say the report shows climate change poses a national security risk, according to a person involved in preliminary discussions.Happer, who once compared the “demonization” of carbon dioxide to the genocide of Jews during the Holocaust, has pushed for some members of the CO2 Coalition — a group he founded — to take an active role in the White House effort, according to sources.The CO2 Coalition receives funding from the Mercer family, a key Trump donor that supports groups that attack climate science, as well as the Koch political network, which has also given millions of dollars to such groups. The coalition’s board of directors and members include researchers who have received funding from the fossil fuel industry and whose work is used to tear down climate regulations.The coalition’s stated purpose is “educating thought leaders, policymakers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy.” A number of its members have called for burning more fossil fuels to benefit humanity and the planet.That directly contradicts the world’s top science agencies, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They have found the consumption of fossil fuels has pushed the planet to a dangerous tipping point that could fundamentally alter civilization if it continues unabated.One group that will be excluded from the White House effort is the Heartland Institute, according to those who have participated in preliminary discussions.Happer and other researchers involved have been featured speakers at the group’s events. But some participants have said they will not join the review if researchers from Heartland — which has received millions of dollars from the Mercer family — are included because a Heartland-led effort would not be considered a serious science review.Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2019. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net.Related: The Washington Post reports that the White House is considering making the committee an ad hoc group, which would exempt it from federal rules requiring advisory panels to have a balanced membership, issue public notice of meetings, and make some of its deliberations and products accessible to the public. Emaillast_img read more

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Dalit man who married BJP MLAs daughter allegedly assaulted at Allahabad High

first_img Advertising Uttarakhand legislator Pranav Singh expelled from BJP for six years over video with guns BJP will make Maharashtra Congress-mukt, says party state chief Chandrakant Patil 31 Comment(s) Was duped into joining BJP-backed film outfit, says actor Madhabi Mukhopadhyay In their plea filed on June 11, Ajitesh Kumar and his wife Sakshi Mishra said they fear for their lives following threats from her father, brother, and their aides.Last week, a video went viral on social media in which Sakshi claimed that her father was threatening them of dire consequences since he allegedly did not approve of their wedding. “Through this video, I want to say that in future if something happens to me or Abhi or any of his family members, then my father, Vicky Bhartaul, and Rajeev Rana would be responsible for it, especially Rajeev Rana who has arrived with his entire team and is chasing me. I will die, but I will wipe out his entire family,” she said in the video. Advertising “Today Sakshi and Ajitesh was to be present in the court and on court order they were brought in police protection. This is a matter or concern that a victim was beaten up inside the court premises for the first time. The incident took place possibly because the two belonged to different castes. The court has taken suo-moto cognisance of the matter and showing seriousness has called the district administration,” the couple’s lawyer told reporters.The lawyer added that Ajitesh was beaten up even in the past. No complaint has been filed with the police in connection with the incident so far.The court proceeding started without any further issue, a police official said, adding that the matter is being investigated and soon whole information will be in front of us. Related News Vicky Bhartaul, Rajesh Mishra, UP Bareily MLA, Dalit, Rajeev Rana, UP BJP, BJP, Sakshi Mishra, inter caste marriage, UP Police, UP Crime, Pappu Bhartaul, Indian Express Sakshi and Ajitesh got married on July 4.A Dalit man who married BJP Bareilly MLA Rajesh Mishra’s daughter was allegedly assaulted by some unidentified persons on Monday morning when the couple went to Allahabad High Court seeking protection. The police, however, said there was a scuffle between two groups of lawyers in the court premises and no one was beaten up. By Express News Service |Lucknow | Updated: July 15, 2019 1:42:57 pmlast_img read more

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Novel approach allows researchers to define how cells in the retina respond

first_imgI’ve had diabetic retinopathy for four years which has really had a significant impact on mine and my family’s life. This has involved seven bouts of laser treatment, a detached retina, six months off work and each and every morning I wake up and am worried that there will be blood in my eye or worse. My consultant is wonderful and reassures me and the laser does stop the vessels from growing but it’s still uncomfortable and it scares me.Research studies like this one give me hope for the future because they pave the way for understanding the disease and developing new treatments that could make a real difference.” Dr Simpson from Queen’s University Belfast said: I am thrilled by the opportunity provided by this funding to apply the very latest technique to perform a ‘molecular dissection’ of the retina and discover how all the different cell types required for vision are affected by diabetes. This offers great potential for developing future treatments for diabetic retinopathy.” Sep 25 2018Researchers will for the first time be defining how every cell type within the retina responds to diabetes, in a study announced by eye research charity Fight for Sight during National Eye Health Week 2018.The study, which has just been funded by the charity, will be the first to simultaneously ‘dissect’ out all the cell types within the retina to discover how they are affected during the course of diabetic retinopathy.The team, led by Dr David Simpson from Queen’s University Belfast, will use a novel approach known as single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) which enables them to simultaneously understand the genes in thousands of cells in the retinal tissue. Traditional approaches have been unsuccessful at assessing the impact of diabetes upon each of the multiple cell types in the retina.Related StoriesSome people treated for type 1 diabetes may have monogenic diabetes, study findsUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useDiabetes patients experiencing empathy from PCPs have beneficial long-term clinical outcomesUnderstanding this sight-threatening condition, which has the potential to affect 144,000 people in the UK, could provide new treatments to target specific cells and prevent or slow down the early retinal changes.In the UK, within 20 years of diagnosis nearly all people with type 1 and almost two thirds of people with type 2 diabetes (60%) have some degree of retinopathy, which can cause eye pain, floaters and lead to sudden vision loss.There are a number of treatments currently available but unfortunately for some patients they are not effective and they have a limited ability to restore vision that has been lost.Suzie Bushby, from Chichester, who was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, said: Diabetic retinopathy is a severe complication of diabetes which can in some cases lead to blindness if left untreated. Fight for Sight is funding this pioneering study because it could lead to the development of new treatments to prevent sight loss from this condition and transform the lives of thousands of people.” Dr Neil Ebenezer, Director of Research, Policy and Innovation at Fight for Sight said: Source:https://www.fightforsight.org.uk/last_img read more

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What People Dont Get About Tesla

first_imgPrinters are so last decade, right? At least, that is what I thought I’d be saying by now if you’d asked me last decade whether I’d need a new printer. I still print labels. I print boarding passes — I’m not going to be “that guy” that hold up the entire boarding line because I can’t find the boarding pass on the phone or the scanner, or our phones won’t talk to each other. I also need to print and sign contracts, because not everyone uses digital signatures.It’s been a while since I bought a printer, but I’d heard of the PageWide from HP. Unlike typical ink jet printers that have a moving head, it has a fixed page-wide head that it feeds the paper under. So, I picked up the MFP 477dw to replace my aging Inkjet printer. Tesla is like Apple in that it represents a revolution in thinking. Although everyone seems to focus on the electric power plant, that is really a small part of the Tesla revolution, and I’m convinced that if Musk were to launch an almost-identical company but with gas engines, it would cut through the market like a hot knife through butter. In terms of volume, the electric part isn’t as much a sales accelerant as it is an impediment.I’ll share some thoughts on the Tesla revolution, focusing on what people who drive the cars often take for granted and those who don’t own Teslas often don’t realize. I’ll close with my product of the week: the HP PageWide Pro MFP. Tesla has been holding a valuation that exceeds GM and Ford at times. Even so, old-time car company executives like Bob Lutz have expressed their conviction that the car company will fail. This reminds me a lot of Apple’s early iPhone years, when very powerful executives constantly shared their views that the iPhone would be a failure — and most of those who did that are now out of jobs.Everyone seemed to focus on the fact that Apple was using a largely failed central design element, but what folks seemed to miss when it took off was that the way the iPhone handled apps — and particularly, entertainment — was what really made it different.Coupled with a marketing budget that was more than 10 times what anyone else was spending, that resulted in a breakout win, even though the major smartphone firms at the time seemed to refuse to see it coming. The “iPhone failure” was the failure to see it as a threat soon enough to come up with a strong counter.What was particularly ironic was that Palm actually had an iPhone-like project before Apple did, but the then-CEO killed it, arguing that smartphones were business-only devices. Hope he is enjoying retirement. What pushed me to this topic was folks starting to pile on again in an old thread in the Jaguar forum, where I compared the then Tesla S to the Jaguar F-Type that I eventually bought. (I turned it into a column here.) Folks on the forum were divided into those who admired the Tesla and those who compared it unfavorably to a Toyota Prius — but most had never driven or ridden in the Tesla.Those who hated the Tesla argued that it lacked the engine sound and would suck as a track car (it would), and that it really wasn’t a performance car — even though in its most performance-oriented configuration it would outpace a million-dollar hyper car to 60 (and dust it to 30).All were clearly missing a few things: It had more capacity than an SUV, was a full-sized sedan, and had unmatched reliability and customer loyalty while still providing supercar-like straight line performance. It is the closest thing to a universal car currently in market.Granted, the electrical part does speak to the performance angle — but like my Jaguar buddies, if you really want a performance car you are far more likely to buy something else. If Tesla made a car that didn’t require a charger, I doubt the GMs or Fords of the world could hold it off.I think what is saving the car firms and limiting Tesla is that Musk won’t do an internal combustion version of this car (others have pointed this out) and he is having trouble executing line diversity, having basically two cars (and the Model X is a bit of a pig).Also, everyone clearly will be at risk if flying cars (or human-carrying drones) should take off. So, we are far from done. Still, the next time you look at a Tesla, remember what folks got wrong about the iPhone: The part that most folks focus on isn’t the part that drives the success of the effort. It’s the experience that makes the difference. Much like those smartphone firms looked at the iPhone and saw a failed design concept, car companies look at the Tesla and see an electric car. In fact, their counter efforts — like the Ford Electric Focus or the Chevy Bolt — are reminiscent of the initial efforts to counter the iPhone.This reminds me of a case I read about years ago — how Ford and GM first tried to counter the Japanese car threat with the problematic Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega. They basically did a great job of analyzing Japanese cars that existed in the market in the mid-60s and then used what they learned, but the effort took more than five years. Japanese cars advanced significantly during that time. Looking back, it’s clear that the Vega and Pinto would have been competitive with cars five years earlier, but they weren’t competitive with the cars in market when they arrived.When auto makers look at the Tesla, they see an electric car and figure they can make one cheaper. What they don’t get is that what makes the Tesla desirable is its exclusivity, ease of use, and customer experience.If Musk ever figured out that all he’d need to do was create a gas-powered line of cars that went from sportscar to SUV, he’d own the automotive market. If he learned to market the Tesla S’ near-universal capability, he’d likely do to the car market what Jobs did to the smartphone market, and there would be a lot fewer car companies as a result. Tesla offers a storefront sale. You go to a shop in a mall, pick what you want, and the sales people order the car for you. They don’t pressure you, the experience is nearly painless, and the car you get is uniquely yours even though your choices are far more limited than you’d typically get.You see, in retail, we’ve learned that too much choice can be worse than too little, because it leads to mistakes and gets in the way of the sale. Negotiating a price is painful, and it can lead to dissatisfaction if we find out that someone else got a better deal.Tesla’s support is at your convenience. The car is pretty much an appliance, so a lot of the service elements in a regular car, like oil and spark plug changes, don’t apply. Updating is done wirelessly for software, not flashed at the dealership, and if your car is needed for a physical update, Tesla comes to you and leaves you a loaner, which you can keep for a fee if you want to upgrade.The car is connected all the time and supported much like an enterprise computer company supports its most loyal customers — remotely and automatically. This does suggest that if Amazon were to go into cars, it likely could become the strongest alternative to a Tesla experience. That’s largely because Amazon already has the back end for this in AWS, and it might be able to go from stores to an online buying experience, advancing the Car as a Service model even further.Teslas typically are leased, and once you are in the program, you basically have the car as a service. For an incremental fee you can swap out the car — kind of like you do with smartphones — and you often can pay for modular updates that bring the car to current specifications. Tesla is much like Apple, in that once you’re in a Tesla program, it’s doubtful that you’ll ever leave.Inside the Tesla, the infotainment and driver information components are easily the best in the world. Only Volvo comes close, and it isn’t that close. This will become far more important once autonomous driving fully matures, but moving between a traditional car and a Tesla often feels like moving between a current Ford or Chevy and one that was built in the 1960s.The Tesla is very close to what you might think Apple would do, were it to wrap a car around the iPad. It is really pretty pathetic how little the traditional car companies have advanced over the last decade, given the changes we’ve experienced in personal technology. Wrapping Upcenter_img HP PageWide Pro 477dwMultifunction PrinterThis thing is impressively fast (40-55 pages a minute). Once it heats up, it spits out the printed page like a baby spits up its formula, but with far less drama. The other nice thing is that it is set up so that both the paper path for the page feed scanner and the printer go in the same direction. My last printer moved the paper left to right for the scanner but front to back for the printer. Since the printer sits next to me, that meant the printed pages were shooting out toward my lap.If you want a smaller paper size for pictures, boarding passes or labels, it has a second paper bay for that (granted, getting label paper is a tad more difficult than I thought it would be). Now switching between a UPS or FedEx label, boarding pass or regular printing is just a change of a setting. It is a little thing, but damned if I don’t find it really useful.The ink is expensive but you get a ton of it, so if you don’t do a lot of printing, the ink could last you months if not years. The PageWide Pro MFP 477dw is likely a little bit of an overkill for my small office (but I’m OK with that), and it costs around US$550 so it’s no cheap date.There is a smaller model, the 452dn, which prices out at a far more reasonable $340. It has a nice color display and connects via ethernet or WiFi. I’m surprisingly happy with this new printer, so the HP PageWide Pro MFP 477dw is my product of the week. What Makes Tesla So Different Tesla’s Failure Recalling the iPhone Failure Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more

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Could a Tech Collaboration Tool Fix Dysfunctional Governments

first_imgThis is a high-quality product with a decent screen and nine hours of battery life. The Pentium Gold processor should provide decent performance in a tablet. It likely was to keep education happy, because a Millennial buyer probably would prefer the new Qualcomm 1000 processor as part of the Always Connected PC initiative.Until a product like that comes out, though, they initially might prefer the version of this product coming out later in the year with built in 4G support.I think that we are beginning to better understand the new employees who are coming to market with stronger affinity for tablets and smartphones. The Surface Go seems to anticipate this need. While not yet ideal for this audience, it should appeal to education and form a foundation for a future product that could address this emerging employee market more effectively.I like products that explore new opportunities and aren’t just clones of what came before. The Surface Go is one of those products, and it’s a natural for my product of the week. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. Why I Don’t Like Collaboration Products Let’s start with why collaboration products in general often leave me less than excited. My educational background was in business, with a focus on motivation and employee development. One of the things I learned early on is that no tool alone will force people to do something they don’t want to do, and if they really want to do something, the lack of a tool won’t stop them.Over the years, programs like forced ranking pitted employees against each other, effectively discouraging collaboration. Companies like Microsoft have discontinued the programs, but the related behavior generally continues. In general, incentives like raises and bonuses not only are less common but also are tied to individual or corporate behavior rather than team behavior.Few employees have the power to impact corporate results, and if you are competing with others for your bonus, raise or promotion, why would you collaborate with them? A tool like Microsoft Teams, alone, can’t fix that — but it could become a foundational element to an eventual fix. Privacy Questions Microsoft Inspire is taking place this week in Las Vegas, and a huge number of my personal friends and I were prebriefed on what the big announcements would be. Strangely, the embargo on the news lifted last week, so I’m not going to get in trouble for sharing some of the revelations.There are a number of interesting elements, including Microsoft’s suddenly aggressive move to use Azure as an Internet of Things host, which suggests that in the future, many of our homes and businesses (at least their lights, HVAC and security) will be managed remotely in the Microsoft Cloud. Don’t get upset, as this is likely a ton better than what we are doing today. (Yes, there is something called “smart home abuse,” and it is a real threat.)There will be a ton of Azure announcements during the week: new servers, a vastly more powerful Azure Global Network, business intelligence, and SQL. What caught my eye was a product that’s free (at least initially) — a new version of Microsoft Teams. I think Teams could be a foundational way to fix governments in general, with a little extra help from artificial intelligence.I’ll explain and then close with my product of the week: a new 10-inch affordable Microsoft Surface Tablet with a Pentium Gold processor (Pentium was one of the most powerful brands every created). Microsoft Teams + AI One of the complaints I can anticipate to this approach is its potential to intrude on privacy. However, politicians lead a public life, and what they say often is either misreported or taken out of context.More important, when they do screw up, their first alert may come when the screw-up is reported publicly, rather than in real time when they could address it more effectively. With this tool, they or their staff could be alerted. Alerts even could be automated — for example, driven to their smartwatch or, even better, a surgically implanted cattle prod (to get their attention). Just kidding, sort of…In most companies, there’s someone always trying to take notes, and it is hardly unusual for someone in a meeting who objected to their treatment or the outcome to run to management with a complaint.Having a heads-up so you could apologize during the meeting — or have the documentation to defend yourself — could be critical to surviving the result. This tool, tied to an AI, could do both. In short, the privacy was never there, and this just better ensures a positive outcome from your participation in a meeting or presentation event. What Microsoft Teams does is coordinate interactions. One of its most interesting aspects is that it can take notes at meetings automatically, index those notes back to a video of the meeting, and provide ways to rapidly locate key pieces of information.In this way, it can document commitments, agreements, positions (and the foundational arguments that support them), and create an audit trail. This trail not only can help optimize a collaborative effort, but also can highlight team members who are unwilling to cooperate (there is always that one jerk who enjoys shooting down anything that might look like progress); or are abusive, discriminatory, racist, or two beers short of a six pack (I expect every one of you flashed on someone when I said that).It also can showcase the heroes who drive progress, constantly act consistently with corporate policy and approved behavior; and demonstrate leadership skills along with the proper application of those skills.Microsoft increasingly has been associating AI capability with this tool, but what if that AI could, after a meeting, send management a note with a performance review of everyone in the meeting? Who participated, who did their email, who moved the ball forward, who created obstacles, who behaved inappropriately, etc. What if you could get a report showcasing what you did right and wrong based on that review, so you could modify your own behavior to be a better team player and better employee, objectively not just subjectively?Wouldn’t that motivate you to perform better, since you would know the reports was feeding into your own performance review, ensuring that you would get credit for the work you did as a team member, not just individually, by promoting team playing? It would also pretty much screw the assh*les in the meeting, so that alone would get me to consider it. Wrapping Up Dysfunctional Government Applied to Government In large part, the problems we have either managing effectively or ensuring that our politicians do their jobs have their roots in a lack of objective information on real performance.Increasingly, everything we do is being captured by something. Right now, it is more likely that information would be used to justify an action against us or our employees and not focused on making both better.Tools like Teams are designed to focus on making the collaboration process more effective, but they easily could be modified with AIs to allow both employees and politicians to change behavior and improve performance.We need to get better, and our very survival likely will depend on improving the effectiveness of our governments. Done right, this eventually could result in a huge step: not only toward making our companies better places to work (by preventing the Harvey Weinsteins of the world either from being formed or from making it into management), but also toward eliminating the politicians who have been doing us the most harm.Oh, and one other thought: At least with companies, there is nothing that would prevent a sharp manager from using the transcripts and records from Teams to assess behavior and better coach employees. Just saying…Something to noodle on this week. In the case of government, you’d play the role of employer. You would see how well your chosen representatives were doing their jobs — at least with regard to what they said and how well they collaborated to get results — and they would see how well they were meeting your expectations.These reports also would flow to the various political parties, so they would have more insight into when to support incumbents versus replacing them on the ballet because they weren’t doing their jobs. (Given Congress’ approval ratings, you’d think that just fixing the “do the job” part would have a massive positive impact.)You likely could create this ad hoc, just by feeding C-SPAN into Microsoft Teams and then wrapping it with a report-generating AI that constantly would rank your representatives against your documented interests, actual progress toward those interests, and — using that same metric — against competitors, both inside and outside your party.I’m willing to bet a lot of us would flip on our representatives if we knew whether they agreed with us and could see how well they carried the day. We’d want both, because someone who just agrees but can’t get support is nearly as bad as someone who isn’t aligned with our interests. I’m a long time Surface user, I’ve used the line since it started, and one of my favorite products remains both the Surface Book (for design) and the Surface Notebook (practicality and appearance).However, this latest offering, a 10-inch tablet form Surface Go, may be the most interesting. You see, laptops with under 13-inch screens have rarely sold well, and folks won’t carry tablets over 10 inches.One thing we’ve learned from millennials is that they really aren’t fans of traditional laptops and seem to prefer more of a smartphone-like device. They want to work outside and be more mobile. Many were attracted to the original iPad for work but found it wanting. Their fix wasn’t to make the iPad bigger — it was to make it more useful for work. While the Surface Go appears more focused on education than on millennials, I think it also could be a solid step toward what that audience wants. Perhaps the most dysfunctional “teams” you’re ever likely to find are in politics — not just U.S. politics, either. If you watch what goes on in other governments, where things often degrade into open violence, our folks actually don’t look as bad.None of these groups are known for making progress, however, and collaboration — particularly between political parties in the U.S. — has been almost as rare as a unicorn. It is particularly fascinating that even though the overall approval rating for the U.S. Congress is so low as to suggest that every politician would be fired if an election were held today, individually we mostly seem to like the office holders (otherwise, they wouldn’t get reelected).I think this is mostly because we have no real clue what our representatives actually are doing. We have a belief that they are doing a good job, but we don’t really have a good independent way of validating our belief. What’s more troubling is that instead of being in a situation where we influence our representatives, we’re often the targets of their powerful marketing efforts to sway our opinion, even in opposition to our own best interests.What if we had a real-time tool to assess how well our elected officials were taking care of our interests? In a company, what if we had a way to ensure that employees were behaving consistently with company imperatives, strategies and goals? Microsoft Surface Go Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more

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New heart drug spotlights troubling trends in drug marketing

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 2 2018At the end of September, Amarin Corp. teased some early findings for Vascepa, its preventive medicine for people at risk of heart disease. The claim was astounding: a 25 percent relative risk reduction for deaths related to heart attacks, strokes and other conditions. Headlines proclaimed a potential game changer in treating cardiovascular disease. And company shares quickly soared, from $3 a share to about $20.Vascepa is Amarin’s only product. The company wants to turn its pill made of purified fish oil into a cash cow, allowing it to staff up both in the United States and abroad so it can sell doctors and millions of consumers on its medical benefits. Although the product has been on the market for more than five years, its first TV ad campaign rolled out this summer in anticipation of the study findings.Except there is one problem. The particulars of the scientific study on which this claim was based remain a mystery.Amarin’s preliminary announcement came via a news release on Sept. 24. The company plans to release detailed findings in November at the national American Heart Association conference. Then early next year, it plans to seek Food and Drug Administration approval to use the drug as a preventive for a range of heart conditions, beyond its current role targeting high triglyceride levels.In the interim, a battle is brewing among physicians, cardiovascular experts and pharma watchers who say Vascepa brings to the foreground troubling trends in the marketing and advertising of new drugs. Companies sometimes promote new products, but withhold the detailed findings until much later. The consequences for both consumers and the health system are vast.”Until all the data is available for review by the public and medical community, it’s really premature to see some of the cheerleading that’s being done,” said Dr. Eric Strong, a hospitalist and clinical assistant professor at Stanford School of Medicine. “It’s harder to change people’s minds once you have these rosy pictures.”John Thero, Amarin’s CEO, argued that the imminent release of the drug’s complete picture should alleviate those concerns.In unveiling topline findings in a news release, he said, the company’s playbook doesn’t diverge from that of other pharmaceutical makers, and provides a necessary level of disclosure for shareholders.But it’s the specifics in the data — for instance, which patients benefited, by how much, their absolute risk reduction and which precise conditions saw improvement — that illustrate whether a product is cost-effective, said medical and drug experts.That’s especially true in the case of Vascepa, whose manufacturer is working hard to convince people the product is clinically superior to ordinary fish oil supplements. Fish oil, which can retail for a few dollars a bottle, has long been promoted as a preventive for heart disease. But the substance has never held up in clinical trials as a way to systematically lower disease risk, said experts.That’s where Amarin’s product is superior, Thero said.The manufacturer has tried to limit competition by seeking to block other fish oil products —arguing to the U.S. International Trade Commission that omega-3 supplements aren’t equivalents, and calling on the FDA to block a chemical component of fish oil, known as EPA and marketed by a number of supplement companies, from being sold as a dietary supplement. Amarin hasn’t yet prevailed.Preston Mason, a biologist who consults for Amarin and has advocated on its behalf, argued that ordinary fish oil supplements carry risks because they are not regulated or approved by the FDA, which does oversee prescription drugs like Vascepa.How Vascepa performs against regular fish oil remains unknown. Amarin’s trial compared the drug against a placebo, not over-the-counter supplements.Vascepa itself isn’t new. It was approved in 2012 as a remedy for extremely high triglyceride levels, which can put patients at risk for pancreatic problems. But reducing that fat hadn’t been conclusively tied to, say, lowering the risk of heart attacks, or other major cardiac problems.That link, ostensibly, is what Amarin is trying now to assert. And there’s plenty of money to be made if it succeeds.As of last December, Vascepa retailed for about $280 for a month-long supply, a list price increase of 43 percent over five years, though the company says its net sale price has stayed the same. (That difference would come if Amarin increased the size of rebates, or discounts it provides, commensurate with price hikes.)Related StoriesWeightlifting is better for the heart than cardioHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsNow, citing the drug’s potentially increased value, Amarin has declined to say whether it will change the price again — though Thero said he sees greater profit potential if the company increases sales volume rather than price.This gets at the crux of this debate. If a company makes available the technical details of a product, but only after hyping the findings, and if the details undercut some of that buzz — is it too late?Dr. Khurram Nasir, a Yale cardiologist, acknowledged that it’s unclear how effective Vascepa really is, but maintained those ambiguities will be cleared up soon enough.”As the findings reveal themselves, there will be a lot of discussion around cost effectiveness, and whether this is worth the spend,” Nasir said.Mason, the Amarin scientist, said FDA scrutiny can also alleviate concerns about overhype.But others worry the perception of Vascepa’s effectiveness is now set.”People are weighing in with really strong language, without enough information,” said Dr. Lisa Schwartz, who co-directs the Dartmouth Institute’s Center for Medicine and Media and studies effective scientific communication.That has both clinical and financial consequences, she added. Doctors are more likely to prescribe a product that’s been heavily promoted, even if subsequent discussion indicates the drug isn’t as powerful as initially implied. And manufacturers can cash in, whether through increased company stock market value or by charging higher list prices.For Vascepa, the central question is which specific heart conditions saw risk reduction, she and others said. In its news release, Amarin noted a “composite outcome” — that is, the 25 percent relative improvement encompassed all conditions for which the researchers tested.”People are saying, Wow, it reduced heart attack, stroke and blah, blah, blah — when it may just reduce the least important one,” said Dr. Steven Woloshin, Schwartz’s research partner.Another issue: The Vascepa trial focused on a specific population — patients with high triglyceride levels plus elevated risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes who were already taking a daily statin. That means any proof of benefit is limited to that group.Woloshin and Schwartz both suggested that nuance could get lost in translation. “It is this much narrower, high-risk population,” Schwartz said.Woloshin added, “The fear is [the message] would generalize to anyone with high triglycerides.”This concern is amplified by a 2016 court settlement in which the FDA permitted Amarin to market Vascepa to audiences for whom it hasn’t been specifically approved — so long as the company doesn’t say anything untrue about the drug.Thero said Amarin’s marketing of Vascepa has stayed, and will remain, consistent with what is factual and relevant.”We are proceeding consistently with what the FDA has guided,” he said.But, some experts said, the 2016 settlement could unlock the door to wider marketing of Vascepa’s off-label use, implying the pill benefits more people than it actually does.”They’ll take pains to show how different this is from everything out there … and its results in these populations,” said Dr. Ameet Sarpatwari, an epidemiologist and lawyer at Harvard Medical School, who studies the pharmaceutical industry. “What they can’t do is say it will be beneficial to these other populations. But they can hint at that.”last_img read more

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Experts discuss various aspects on health risks posed by fumigated containers

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 17 2019The participants discussed the following aspects on the health risks posed by fumigated containers at an experts’ workshop on 16 November 2018:Proper fumigation and labeling Common substances approved for fumigation, such as phosphine, usually evaporate within a short period of time. If used properly a risk to consumers is therefore unlikely according to current knowledge.However, it also became clear at the workshop, that in many cases containers are not fumigated properly and/or that the containers in question are only poorly marked and labeled, if at all, so that it is not possible to handle them correctly. This conceals the risk of exposure to persons who load, unload or dispatch the containers.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchVolatile organic solvents Apart from the subject of approved biocides there is the issue of the frequent detection of volatile organic solvents. These substances originate from the cleaning of the containers as well as from the products themselves.In particular the potentially carcinogenic 1,2-dichloroethane has been detected in many cases. In the air of some containers 1,2-dichloroethane concentrations in the ppm range were measured. This poses first and foremost a health risk to everyone who unloads the products from which the solvents degas.1,2-dichloroethane is given off fumigated products slowly. It may degas over a period of up to two months, which means it is possible that consumers and/or retail personnel can also come in contact with 1,2-dichloroethane or other volatile solvents.The analysis of volatile substances in containers is technically demanding. To determine how severely contaminated the air in a container is, the measurement has to be made before the container is ventilated.From the perspective of health risk assessment, it is necessary to record also potentially health-damaging substances beyond the spectrum of fumigants authorized as biocides. This is not fully possible at the moment, however, due to a lack of measuring methods. For this reason, a continuous exchange of information between the workshop participants, especially with regard to the further development of methods for measuring volatile solvents, was considered useful. Providing protection against the health risks posed by goods transported in fumigated containers is a joint challenge faced by authorities responsible for market monitoring and consumer health protection.Research project: Influence of fumigation on the aroma of sunflower seeds Apart from the possible direct effect on humans, the research project also focused on effects on foods. The BfR and Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) demonstrated that fumigation with the bio-cide phosphine and the solvent 1,2-dichloroethane alters the aroma of sunflower seeds. Whether or not this influence on quality also exists with other agricultural products is subject of further examinations at the BfR. Source:https://www.bfr.bund.de/de/start.htmllast_img read more

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ANCON Medical discusses how NBT technology is better at providing accurate cancer

first_imgJul 1 2019Cancers cells now have a powerful adversary called ‘magnetic hyperthermia’ and it consists of clusters of magnetic nanoparticles. The experimental new method uses magnetic nanoparticles, injected directly into a tumor with a syringe and by using alternating magnetic current, the particles heat up and ‘cook’ the tumor.Magnetic nanoparticles show great promise in clinical trials on patients with brain and prostate cancers. However, a powerful new treatment can only be as effective as the diagnosis proceeding it. Like a hunter wearing a blindfold, a technique hamstrung if it cannot aim or hit the target. Therefore if a patient is misdiagnosed, the following treatment can only be effective in cooking the wrong cells. Furthermore,  even the most powerful anti-tumor therapies will struggle in cases where a diagnosis comes too late, once the cancers have spread to areas that can be very risky to insert a syringe.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedAs current diagnostic tools often rely on human analysis and interpretation, misdiagnoses and late diagnoses are all too common. Leading diagnostic technology company, ANCON Medical, comments on the reasons why an early and accurate diagnosis is key to getting the most out of a promising new treatment:”If treating cancer were a coin, the actual treatment would be one side and the other side would consist of the diagnosis. For treatments to be effective, a rapid and precise diagnosis is the first step in order to provide targets for the treatment. ANCON Medical provides diagnoses in as little as ten minutes with their Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging technology. NBT enables cancers to be detected in the breath of a patient and because it is a million times more sensitive than traditional methods, it is much better at giving an accurate diagnosis.At a time when new methods for dealing with cancer are being developed at a blistering pace, technologies that can increase both the accuracy and speed of diagnoses are vital in the fight to target and eliminate cancers.” Source:ANCON Medicallast_img read more

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Pitt wins 6 million grant to develop cortical vision research program

first_imgThe RK Mellon Foundation’s investment is a resounding vote of confidence in a world-renowned talent–Dr. José-Alain Sahel–and his team’s groundbreaking efforts to preserve and restore the gift of sight for millions of people across the world. I am deeply grateful for the Foundation’s support and excited to watch this next chapter in vision research and care unfold right here in Pittsburgh.”Patrick Gallagher, Pitt Chancellor Related StoriesBridging the Gaps to Advance Research in the Cannabis IndustryTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CT”As the world’s population continues to grow and age, the number of individuals with visual impairments is expected to triple by the year 2050, and Pittsburgh, with its aging population, will be highly affected by this epidemic of vision loss,” said José-Alain Sahel, M.D., director of the UPMC Eye Center, and Eye and Ear Foundation chair of ophthalmology, Pitt School of Medicine. “We have established world class vision research and clinical care in Pittsburgh, and the cortical vision program will bring together the brightest minds to develop therapies that will directly benefit the people in our communities and around the world.”Since 2016, Pitt and UPMC’s ophthalmology efforts have expanded significantly, adding 15 new clinical and research faculty. The vision research program also has established extensive collaborations with Carnegie Mellon University and an international partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and leading institutions such as the Institut de la Vision in Paris where Sahel serves as the director.In March, UPMC broke ground on UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation at UPMC Mercy, which when completed, will provide advanced specialty clinical care to treat complex ocular diseases and innovative programs for the visually impaired, and be the home of the vision research program at Pitt and UPMC.The new cortical vision program will have three major areas of focus–understanding the biological mechanisms of vision from the eye to the brain, developing new vision restoration therapies using cutting-edge technologies such as brain computer interfaces and optogenetics to directly stimulate the brain, and implementing vision rehabilitation programs following these restorative therapies to enhance their benefit and improve quality of life. The grant will help support the recruitment of new faculty who will establish and run research laboratories in pursuit of these goals. Source:University of Pittsburgh Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 16 2019The University of Pittsburgh received a $6 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to support the development of a cortical vision research program in the Pitt School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology. The program will aim to understand how the eye and the brain work together to help us see the world, and use that knowledge to develop new ways to restore vision using various technologies such as brain computer interfaces and novel genetic technologies.last_img read more

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Autonomous cars loom but the Detroit auto show goes on

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is interviewed after the unveiling of the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee during the North American International Auto Show, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Detroit. Marchionne said a day earlier that he’ll step down in 2019, after leading the combined company since 2009. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Ford Motor Co., Executive Chairman Bill Ford stands next to the 2019 Mustang Bullitt and the original Bullitt, right, on the floor at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Citation: Autonomous cars loom, but the Detroit auto show goes on (2018, January 17) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-autonomous-cars-loom-detroit-auto.html The Ram 1500 is shown during the North American International Auto Show, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Explore further TRADE DEALMany auto executives interviewed at the auto show say they’re afraid the U.S. might pull out of the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, but they can’t prepare for it because they don’t know what, if anything will replace it.In ongoing negotiations with Mexico and Canada, the Trump administration is seeking to ensure that more vehicles are made in America, among other changes. But Jim Lentz, Toyota’s North American CEO, says ending the agreement would likely raise costs. That, in turn, would raise vehicle prices and cut demand, forcing manufacturing layoffs. It also would make the U.S. less competitive than the world’s other manufacturing centers, he said. Ending the agreement also could force some suppliers to stop making parts.Charlie Chesbrough, the chief economist for Cox Automotive, said it’s hard to imagine there will be much change in production, because automakers need a long lead time to act and they know the next president could reverse Trump’s actions. But some automakers are already taking pre-emptive steps to show the administration they’re willing to boost U.S. production. Fiat Chrysler said ahead of the auto show that it will move heavy duty truck production from Mexico to Michigan in 2020.HEDGING ON ROBOT CARSAutomakers are hedging their bets when it comes to autonomous vehicles and whether they will someday cut into or even end personal car ownership.In interviews through the week, executives said they’re preparing for a time when people hire self-driving ride services to get around instead of spending on personal vehicles.But they don’t know just when that will take place, so they also must continue to spend millions to develop conventional vehicles as well. Automakers turn big profits on large pickups. Sales rose nearly 6 percent last year to almost 2.4 million, even though total U.S. auto sales dropped 2 percent. Ford’s F-Series is the country’s top-selling vehicle, followed by the Silverado and Ram.TAX REFORM BOOST?U.S. auto sales are likely to fall to around 16.7 million in 2018 from 17.2 million last year, says Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst with the car buying site Autotrader.com.But that would still make it one of the 10 best sales years in history, so the market remains strong.U.S. income tax code changes this year may stimulate new auto sales, but any increase likely will be offset by rising interest rates and the abundant supply of late-model used cars that pull buyers from new vehicles, Toyota Motor Corp.’s top North American executive says.North American CEO Jim Lentz expects a sales boost of 200,000 vehicles as tax cuts put more money in people’s pockets. But the increase could be negated as rising rates keep some people on the sidelines, and some buyers opt for a lower-cost but nice off-lease used car. “These proclamations that we hear about the advent of electrification and artificial intelligence … are all things that, at best, are conjecture,” said Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.Although some companies plan to deploy driverless cars to carry passengers in coming months, Marchionne says it will take years for the vehicles to be in widespread use.Mark Reuss, General Motors’ head of product development says he wishes he knew exactly when and where the switch would take place. But for now, GM and other companies have to be in both places.”We can go either way and that agility is priceless,” said Reuss.GOOD OLD DAYSDespite the new wheels on the show floor, one of the biggest hits is a 50-year-old Mustang GT fastback in need of a paint job. It was one of the original cars used in the 1968 film “Bullitt,” which put the Mustang on the map with a famous chase scene.Ford Motor Co. rolled it out to help celebrate a special “Bullitt” edition Mustang, which goes on sale this summer. The faded green car got a huge cheer when it rumbled onto the stage. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado High Country pickup is unveiled, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Detroit. The Silverado is the second-best selling vehicle in the U.S. and is outsold only by Ford’s F-Series pickups. Big pickup truck sales rose nearly 6 percent last year to almost 2.4 million, even though total U.S. auto sales dropped 2 percent. One in every seven vehicles sold last year was a full-size pickup. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Tax cuts could boost pickup truck sales because businesses can write off the expenses immediately under the new code, Lentz said.But he expects luxury new-car sales to be flat this year even though tax rates were reduced for higher-income earners. Any decrease could be wiped out by caps on deductions for mortgage interest and local and state taxes in big luxury-car states such as New York and California, Lentz said. The North American International Auto Show in Detroit opened to the press this week with one big question hanging in the air: How will autonomous vehicles change the industry? Detroit Auto Show opens on Sunday The answer is still unclear. In the meantime, automakers continue to put out new vehicles of all shapes and sizes, including small cars, SUVs and the all-mighty pickup truck, which dominated the show.All will be on display when the show opens to the public Saturday, with a charity preview on Friday night.Here are five things we learned from the preview this week:TRUCKS ARE KINGPickups are the most popular vehicles in the U.S., and trucks unveiled at the show make clear that will continue for a long time.General Motors spent heavily to update its top-selling Chevrolet Silverado pickup, cutting up to 450 pounds of weight by using more aluminum and lighter high-strength steel. The truck also gets two new V8 engines that can run on one to eight cylinders depending on how much power is needed.Fiat Chrysler’s Ram also got big updates, losing more than 200 pounds and giving it a gas-electric hybrid engine option. Both the Silverado and Ram were given more athletic stances and meaner looks. Ford added a diesel engine to its F-150 and rolled out the midsize Ranger. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

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